Called for greater public outreach to South Seattle community about critical bus service
StoryThe Metropolitan King County Council voted today on a transit service change eliminating Metro Transit Route 42. An amendment sponsored by Councilmembers Larry Gossett and Bob Ferguson to preserve Route 42 service until further public outreach could be conducted to the impacted community failed in a 5-4 vote. Over the objections of Councilmembers Gossett and Ferguson, the Council voted to eliminate Route 42 in the winter of 2013.
“As an advocate for equality and social justice, I hoped my colleagues would support the idea of requiring Metro to engage in extensive community outreach prior to eliminating the 42,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett, who represents the communities primarily affected by the elimination of Route 42. “However, I will work with Metro and the community over the next several months to identify adequate service alternatives to meet the community’s needs.”
“As a regular bus commuter, I understand the importance of local bus service in our communities,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson. “The number of residents that turned out and voiced their support for saving the Route 42 demonstrates the need for a better solution for the community. I am disappointed a majority of my colleagues did not support our proposal to preserve service while we engage with the community on possible alternatives.”
Councilmembers Gossett and Ferguson sponsored an amendment to preserve service on Route 42 while Metro conducted a public outreach effort to better determine how to meet the community’s need.
The proposed amendment failed in a 5-4 vote. Voting for the amendment to save service were Councilmembers Gossett, Ferguson, McDermott, and Pete von Reichbauer.
Councilmembers Kathy Lambert, Larry Phillips, Julia Patterson, Jane Hague, and Reagan Dunn voted against the proposed amendment.
The elimination of Route 42 comes as part of the first service adjustments since the adoption of the County’s Transit Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan changed the methodology for allocating bus service, with a greater focus on higher-performing bus routes. However, the Strategic Plan also emphasizes social equity as part of Metro Transit’s service guidelines.
Route 42 runs between the International District and the Rainier Valley along Martin Luther King Jr. Way S. The population of the area served by Route 42 includes many elderly and low-income residents who rely on the bus for their primary mode of transportation.